"In the 21st century, business communication is as much about understanding the medium as it is about crafting the message" - Michael Vlessides

Michael Vlessides

Business Writing and Communications Expert

Michael Vlessides is a highly sought-after speaker and trainer. He teaches the finer points of business communication, writing through humouros and interactive presentations. Through his Textman Writing Workshops he has helped dozens of companies and hundreds of employees refine their professional writing skills and electronic etiquette. Since his graduation from New York University’s School of Journalism in 1987, Michael Vlessides has made a career of crafting the written word and teaching business people how to do the same. His body of work is varied and extensive. He brings this broad range of experience into every keynote and workshop he presents.

Michael Vlessides has authored six books to date, and contributed to several others. Most recently, he co-authored You Gotta Eat Here, Too! A follow-up to the 2012 best-selling You Gotta Eat Here! In 2011, Michael wrote the national best-seller The Ice Pilots: Flying With The Mavericks Of The Great White North. Michael has also written Les Stroud’s bestselling Will To Live, Dispatches From The Edge Of Survival and Survive! How To Get Out Of Anywhere… Alive.

The roots of Michael Vlessides’ diverse writing career stretch back to the New York City offices of Major League Baseball Properties, where he was responsible for writing and editing newsletters, press releases, product catalogs and presentation packages. Michael has also contributed to many sports and medical trade publications over the past two-and-a-half decades. Once associate editor of Gastroenterology Observer, he is a senior writer with Gastroenterology and Endoscopy News, Pain Medicine News, and Anesthesiology News.

Michael, who served as editor of Up Here magazine in 1996-97, has contributed to many of the world’s finest consumer magazines, including International Wildlife, Canadian Geographic, British Columbia Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Canadian Wildlife, Explore, L’Actualité, and Avenue. A 1998 Canadian Geographic article garnered him a National Magazine Award Honourable Mention. Vlessides helped the Calgary Urban Project Society create and publish the city’s first and only ‘street newspaper’, Calgary Street Talk.

Michael Vlessides  also produces a considerable body of written collateral materials for North American companies large and small. This includes annual reports, corporate brochures, newsletters, flyers, product sheets, and print advertisements. Above all, Micheal will teach individuals and teams to become better writers and communicators. With technology becoming the forefront of business communication, Micheal’s presentations will improve internal and external communication to become more clear and professional with their clients, colleagues, and suppliers. Companies will find that their once-muddy proposals are now crisp and tight, resulting in far greater conversion rates.

Topic Presentations

The stories are all too common: a PR consultant is fired for a distasteful Tweet… A telecommunications giant loses a $2 million contract because of a misplaced comma… A senior manager loses his job because of inappropriate content in his professional emails…

In the 21st century, business communication is as much about understanding the medium as it is about crafting the message.

That is where Business Writing In The Digital Age comes in. Michael Vlessides can deliver either a rousing, relevant, keynote or a 90 minute, a half or full-day interactive workshop on the subject. He combines the essentials of good business writing with the electronic etiquette so often overlooked in today's professional communication.

Participants begin by mastering the foundations of correct business usage, allowing them to plan, write, and edit better than ever. However, that is just the beginning. No 21st-century primer on business writing is complete without considering the media by which these messages are communicated.

Business Writing In The Digital Age ushers traditional business writing into the digital age, changing electronic business communication from an inefficient, career-limiting hindrance into a tool that's productive, efficient, and manageable. Participants walk away with the expert techniques, insights, and rules of electronic etiquette that will make them more effective -- and empathetic -- electronic business communicators. From commas to colons, texting to social media, Business Writing In The Digital Age covers all the bases.

Audience members will see their career prospects grow as they communicate more clearly and professionally with their clients, colleagues, and suppliers. Companies will find that their once-muddy proposals are now crisp and tight, resulting in far greater conversion rates. Relationships soiled by inattention and ignorance are made right once again.

Other learning outcomes include:


  • Understanding readers' needs

  • Clear, crisp writing projects delivered on time

  • Error-free messages

  • Letters that clients understand, appreciate, and incite a favorable response

  • Less time spent on writing with greater impact

  • Reports that are easy to skim for key information, intelligently organized, and empathetic

  • User-friendly user manuals

  • Announcements that provide clear, complete information

  • E-mail subject line refinement

  • Getting to the point

  • How to give instructions politely

  • One-screen messages

  • Professionalizing the look of electronic communication

  • Killing e-mail waste

  • How to reply, and to whom

  • Social networking dos and don'ts

  • Tasteful texting.

Business Writing Made Easy is the cornerstone of Textman Writing Workshops. This rousing, fun, and activity-filled one- or two-day workshop is designed to help everyone in your organization master the essentials of correct business usage so they can plan, write, and edit better than they ever thought possible. As a result, they’ll produce better letters, memos, reports, and electronic messages in less time than they ever have.

Like every Textman workshop, Business Writing Made Easy is fun and fast-paced, so your employees won’t feel like they’re suffering through a dry high school English class.

You’ll learn expert tips and techniques that can be applied to any kind of writing, such as:


  • Strategies for planning and structuring your writing

  • How to write in clear, concise, and compelling language

  • How to write naturally and conversationally

  • How to define your purpose for writing and consider your readers’ needs

  • Strategies for employing style, structure, format, and tone for maximum impact

  • How to organize your writing with coherent paragraphs

  • The most common business writing mistakes and how to avoid them

  • How to reduce the length of your business documents… and the length of time it takes to write them

  • How to package your writing for visual appeal and readability

  • How to master practical grammar and punctuation rules

  • Lively presentation punctuated by activities, group exercises, and interactive discussions

  • Participants plan, write, and edit their own work

  • Take-away tools and resources to help participants apply new skills and strategies


100-page manual including:

  • Complete business writing curriculum covering the finer points of:

  • Prewriting

  • Tone

  • Outlining

  • Usage, style, mechanics

  • Clarity, conciseness, readability

  • Editing & revision


 Many valuable tipsheets covering:

  • Common writing errors

  • Commonly misspelled words

  • Buzzwords to prune out of your writing

  • The most common mistakes business writers make

  • Business editing, proofreading, & revising

  • Dozens of exercises related to material covered during workshop

  • Proposals that appeal to readers

  • Dramatic increase between pre- and post-test scores

  • Clear, crisp writing projects delivered on time

  • Writing that is virtually free of errors

  • Letters that clients understand, appreciate, and respond favorably to

  • Less time spent on writing with greater impact

  • Reports that are easy to skim for key information, intelligently organized, and empathetic

  • User-friendly user manuals

  • Announcements that provide clear, complete information

Electronic communication is the today’s prevalent form of business communication. Unfortunately, most of your employees treat e-mail, texting, and social media as casual, friendly media, which may not always be appropriate in a professional setting. A baseline of poor writing skills is dumbed down even more.

Essential Electronic Etiquette takes what can be an inefficient tool and makes it productive, efficient, and manageable. I’ll give you and your employees the expert techniques, insights, and rules of electronic etiquette that will make them more effective and empathetic communicators.

A full day of instruction allows us to dig deeply into the electronic communication patterns businesspeople have developed over the years, and how we can fit adapt those behaviors into a professional context. We’ll have lots of time to dig into discussions and exercises that apply the techniques we learn in class.

 

Techniques Presented

 The three ‘Es’ of electronic communication: etiquette, efficiency, and empathy


  • When to communicate electronically and when not to

  • Tone and style

  • Organizing information to meet readers’ needs

  • Trimming messages to be as clear and concise as possible

  • Laying out information for understandability

  • Subjects lines

  • Polite instruction giving

  • Organizing and managing e-mails

  • Understanding the nuance of writing for a computer screen as they develop screen savvy


Take Aways

  • Comprehensive binder of entire curriculum, plus examples, techniques, and tipsheets


Observable Results

  • Understanding your readers’ needs

  • Improving electronic communication efficiency

  • E-mail subject line refinement

  • Getting to the point

  • How to give instructions politely

  • One-screen messages

  • Professionalizing the look of electronic communication.

  • Killing e-mail waste.

  • How to reply, and to whom

  • Social networking dos and don’ts

  • Tasteful texting


Other Activities

  • Advantages and disadvantages of electronic communication

  • Share pet peeves about e-mail

  • How to turn e-mail junk into gems

  • Critique sample messages for reader reaction

  • Practice strategies for transferring workshop skills back to the workplace

Business people of all stripe lament the lack of grammar and punctuation knowledge in today’s business world. Our teachers may have had the best intentions, but more often than not, it just didn’t stick. As a result, more questions than answers seem to surround this, the foundation of good business writing.

The Textman Grammar & Punctuation workshop is a one- or two-day nuts-and-bolts class that unravels the mysteries of two of the most common problem areas for business writers. The class will help you avoid those all-too-frequent gaffs that tarnish your professional image. In classic Textman fashion, this course is fun and lively, and focuses its energy on those areas where businesspeople most often err. By applying a few basic rules and strategies, you’ll soon be on the road to clear, concise, and readable communication!

Note that Grammar & Punctuation can also be presented as intensive individual one-day workshops on either subject. I use a variety of interactive training methods to help you identify and overcome common problems and develop more confidence when writing.

What You Will Learn


  • Practical grammar and punctuation rules

  • The purpose of grammar

  • How to recognize the parts of speech and their uses

  • How to punctuate correctly

  • The use of punctuation in different types of writing

  • How to identify and construct different kinds of sentences

  • The correct use of active and passive verbs

  • Checking your writing for correct punctuation

  • Identify common errors that tarnish a writer’s image


Other Learning Activities

  • Determine your own grammar/punctuation strengths and weaknesses through a pre- testUpdate your knowledge of current rules with numerous practice exercises.

  • Indulge in a series of exercises to correct grammar glitches and punctuation pitfalls

  • Correct writing samples to demonstrate understanding of essential rules

  • Demonstrate improvement in your skills through a post-test

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Language Spoken

English

Travels From

Calgary, Alberta

Ice Pilots

The Ice Pilots  follows renegade Arctic airline Buffalo Airways, and pilots who defy the cold and the competition by using WWII era propeller planes likes the DC-3 to haul vital fuel, supplies, and passengers to remote outposts across the world’s last great wilderness. From rookie pilots trying to earn their wings in sometimes hellish conditions to vintage planes that flew over Normandy on D-Day, The Ice Pilots brings its readers on an engaging romp through Arctic skies. Michael Vlessides braves bone-chilling temperatures, treacherous landings, and iconic owner "Buffalo” Joe McBryan’s famous temper to capture behind-the-scenes stories about the ice pilots, the crew, and the communities they serve. Weaving in history about bush pilots, plane crashes, and the north, he has crafted an entertaining, informative narrative about aviation, the lifeline of this remote world. Based on the top-rated Ice Pilots NWT television series now airing on The Weather Channel and in 12 countries around the world.

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